Free NHL Hockey Bets and Picks: Colorado Avalanche Look to Spoil New Jersey Devils Home Opener
October 7 has fifteen games on, with the Boston Bruins the only team not playing. Using the lines at BetOnline sportsbook, here are my free NHL betting picks for Saturday’s games.
Colorado Avalanche (+142) at New Jersey Devils (-157)
The New Jersey Devils enter the season after winning the draft lottery last year. The Avalanche finished last place in the standings with an awful season that finished with them dropping down to the fourth overall selection in this year’s draft. Both teams enter the new season with the hope that is only brought upon with a new year.
New Jersey’s matchup against the Avalanche is the opening game for the team this season. New Jersey added two prospects during the offseason that will crack the opening lineup Saturday, first overall selection Nico Hischier and defensive prospect Will Butcher. Butcher captained the University of Denver to a Frozen Four championship last year.
New Jersey also brought on Marcus Johansson from the Washington Capitals, veteran Drew Stafford from Boston, and Mirco Mueller from the Sharks. These players will need to make an immediate impact if New Jersey is going to improve on last season’s 70-point season.
Colorado enters this season after an embarrassing 48-point season last year. To add insult to injury, Colorado lost out on top prospects Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier when they fell out of the top three in the draft lottery. This season brings new hope, especially with Thursday night’s 4-2 upset against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
In the Avalanche’s win against the Rangers, Semyon Varlamov made 37 saves. Colorado will have to do a better job staying out of the penalty box as they went 4-6 on the penalty kill, allowing fifteen shots.
The Avalanche got good production out of Matt Duchene, who was expected to get traded during the offseason. Mikko Rantanen also produced a goal on a first period powerplay. If the Avalanche can continue to get production out of their top six, they could string together nice back to back wins on the road to start the season.
I believe the Avalanche jump out to an early start, as the offense is already rolling. New Jersey can’t keep up as Varlamov picks up where he ended in New York. The Avalanche coast out to a 2-0 start to the season.
Winnipeg Jets (+127) at Calgary Flames (-140)
Winnipeg and Calgary each meet for their second games of the season. Both teams enter the game after losing their opener. Both teams will battle for the first win of the new season.
Calgary went against Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers on opening night, and McDavid recorded a hat trick to beat the Flames 3-0. Calgary did not look great after the game, but one bright spot was goaltender Mike Smith. Smith enters his first season with the Flames after spending the last six years of his career with the Coyotes. Smith stopped 42 of 44 shots against the Oilers, putting up an impressive .955 save percentage.
Calgary had difficulty generating offense against the Oilers only recording 27 shots on goal compared to Edmonton’s 45. It’ll be up to stars like Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan to get the offense going Saturday.
Winnipeg was destroyed by Toronto in a 7-2 game. Steve Mason got the start, but was pulled from the game after allowing five goals on twenty shots. Connor Hellebuyck relieved Mason, but did not play much better allowing two goals on eleven shots. The defensive core and goaltenders will need to step up their play to avoid another blowout.
Winnipeg did outshoot Toronto 37-31. Eighteen of those shots were on the power play. Despite the effort, Winnipeg went 0-8 on the man-advantage. If Winnipeg continues to generate offense, all they need to do is tighten up the back end to give a strong push to win their first game of the season in Calgary.
Last season Calgary won the season series 2-1, but I predict the Jets will bounce back after a rough loss to the Maple Leafs, pulling off the upset in Calgary.